TechPowered By

More tech

September 15, Elite men downhill:

Smith wins first World Cup of his career in Hafjell

By:
Rob Jones
Published:
September 15, 2012, 15:20 BST,
Updated:
September 16, 2012, 15:55 BST

Gwin celebrates overall 2012 World Cup victory

Hafjell elite men's downhill World Cup podium: Gee Atherton, George Brannigan, Steve Smith, Greg Minnaar, Nick Beer

Hafjell elite men's downhill World Cup podium: Gee Atherton, George Brannigan, Steve Smith, Greg Minnaar, Nick Beer

view thumbnail gallery

The final round of the 2012 UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup in Hafjell, Norway, produced a first-time winner in the men's competition, with Steve Smith (Devinci Global Racing) beating out his teammate George Brannigan. While the battle for the men's overall downhill World Cup title was over after round six, with Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) having locked it up by virtue of his four wins, the competition for second in the final standings was far from done, with world champion Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) a mere 19 points in front of Gee Atherton (GT Factory Racing).

Markus Pekoll (MS Mondraker) was the first man to spend an appreciable time in the hot seat, eventually finishing ninth with his 3:36.712, after holding the lead time for 30 riders before Cameron Cole (Lapierre International) finally supplanted him by 0.649 seconds with 18 riders to go. Ten riders later, Atherton took the lead by nearly two seconds, but didn't have much time to enjoy it before Minnaar bumped him by a tenth of a second, ensuring his second place in the overall standings.

The four riders remaining would all have been a first-time winner of a World Cup. Josh Bryceland (Santa Cruz Syndicate) struggled in the upper half of the course, putting him out of contention. Brannigan had a poor start in the upper part of the course also, but recovered strongly to take the lead by 1.734 seconds. Second place qualifier Robin Wallner (Are Bikepark by W-Racing) seemed to succumb to the pressure, finishing well off the pace in 17th.

This left Smith, the bronze medalist at the world championships, with the only chance left to replace his teammate Brannigan on the top step. The Canadian has had multiple podium appearances over the past couple of years, but was still looking to win his first World Cup. It was clear that this course suited him, as he recorded the fastest splits both at the top and middle portions of the course, visibly faster than anyone else through the rock gardens, to come in four-tenths of a second faster that Brannigan at the bottom.

"I am so happy right now," said Smith. "I have never won a World Cup before; it has been a dream of mine. I had no idea when I was running how it was going. The wind was such a bad headwind. The track is so fast, but it didn't feel like I could go any faster, because that headwind was so hard, but everyone had the same. I am so stoked."

"It is insane. I can't believe the team is finishing the season this way. All three of us on the podium today. Three of the five! It's George's (Brannigan) first ever podium, Nick [Beer - fifth] first podium this year, so for the Devinci team we are all so stoked right now."

Gwin won the men's World Cup title with 1260 points to Minnaar's 1162, with Atherton at 1123 and Smith in fourth at 930. Australia's Sam Hill (Monster Energy-Specialized), by virtue of his seventh place and the absence of injured Danny Hart (Giant Factory) moved from sixth to fifth in the final standings.

"It's a great feeling [winning the World Cup overall]," agreed Gwin. "A little bittersweet not being able to race, but definitely a really awesome year for me, I can't complain. It has been great. Congrats to Stevie [Smith], that was cool to see."

"On the first day of practice, I had a pretty big crash in the rock section, that was a bit of a bummer. I was feeling good and looking forward to having some fun at this race, but that is the way it goes. It could be a lot worse, I guess. Yes, it is disappointing not to be in the last race of the season. You always want to end the year strong, and I kind of did this last year too. Kind of a bummer but I will have no shortage of motivation for the off season."

Race notes

- Aaron Gwin did not race due to an injury sustained to his hand during practice.  It was the same hand and injury location as that suffered in Val d'Isere at Round 6, but this time the bone was heavily bruised.

- Some racers, such as Justin Leov (Trek World Racing), were absent while others mourned the loss of a friend. Leov was attending the funeral of James Dodds, a mountain biker from New Zealand who was killed in a hunting accident.

Full Results

Elite men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing 0:03:31.764  
2 George Brannigan (NZl) Devinci Global Racing 0:00:00.400  
3 Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate 0:00:02.134  
4 Gee Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing 0:00:02.289  
5 Nick Beer (Swi) Devinci Global Racing 0:00:03.133  
6 Cameron Cole (NZl) Lapierre International 0:00:04.209  
7 Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized 0:00:04.745  
8 Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate 0:00:04.801  
9 Markus Pekoll (Aut) MS Mondraker Team 0:00:04.948  
10 Brendan Fairclough (GBr) SCott11 0:00:05.504  
11 Michael Hannah (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride 0:00:05.642  
12 Isak Leivsson (Nor) 0:00:05.686  
13 Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team 0:00:05.790  
14 Brook Macdonald (NZl) MS Mondraker Team 0:00:05.965  
15 Greg Williamson (GBr) 0:00:06.032  
16 Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction 0:00:06.058  
17 Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing 0:00:06.193  
18 Bernard Kerr (GBr) 0:00:06.962  
19 Neko Mulally (USA) Trek World Racing 0:00:06.989  
20 Bryn Atkinson (Aus) Team Norco International 0:00:07.299  
21 Loic Bruni° (Fra) Lapierre International 0:00:07.381  
22 Florent Payet (Fra) SC-Intense 0:00:07.534  
23 Damien Spagnolo (Fra) MS Mondraker Team 0:00:07.593  
24 Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof 0:00:07.599  
25 Luke Strobel (USA) 0:00:07.693  
26 Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr) 0:00:08.012  
27 Harry Molloy (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team 0:00:08.315  
28 Lorenzo Suding (Ita) Pila-Black Arrows-Mtb Herin SChool Asd 0:00:08.691  
29 Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Factory Racing 0:00:08.961  
30 Eliot Jackson (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team 0:00:09.409  
31 Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Col) CG Racing Brigade 0:00:09.818  
32 Ben Reid (Irl) Dirt Norco Race Team 0:00:09.994  
33 Slawomir Lukasik (Pol) 0:00:10.004  
34 Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof 0:00:10.127  
35 Richard Thomas (GBr) 0:00:10.252  
36 Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Topcycle By Trek 0:00:10.435  
37 Benny Strasser (Ger) 0:00:10.944  
38 Connor Fearon° (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride 0:00:11.358  
39 Oscar Harnstrom (Swe) Pila-Black Arrows-Mtb Herin SChool Asd 0:00:11.646  
40 Kyle Sangers (Can) 0:00:12.242  
41 Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International 0:00:12.801  
42 Adam Brayton (GBr) 0:00:13.334  
43 Richard Rude Jr° (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team 0:00:13.372  
44 Zakarias Blom Johansen (Nor) 0:00:13.906  
45 Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team 0:00:14.617  
46 Kirk Mcdowall (Can) 0:00:14.698  
47 Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kona 0:00:14.734  
48 Niklas Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing 0:00:14.736  
49 Reece Potter° (NZl) 0:00:15.129  
50 Thomas Braithwaite (GBr) 0:00:15.302  
51 Sam Dale (GBr) 0:00:15.339  
52 Ludovic Oget (Fra) Dagg - Racing 0:00:15.617  
53 Oliver Burton (GBr) 0:00:16.125  
54 Jakob Thunell° (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing 0:00:16.448  
55 Joshua Button (Aus) SC-Intense 0:00:16.487  
56 Mark Wallace° (Can) 0:00:16.561  
57 Quentin Chanudet (Fra) 0:00:16.720  
58 Phil Atwill° (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team 0:00:16.779  
59 Richard Leacock (NZl) 0:00:16.833  
60 Mark Scott (GBr) 0:00:17.078  
61 Benjamin Verrier (Fra) 0:00:17.092  
62 Noel Niederberger° (Swi) SCott11 0:00:17.327  
63 Espen Johnsen (Nor) 0:00:17.355  
64 Mathew Stuttard (GBr) 0:00:17.421  
65 Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof 0:00:17.829  
66 Ziga Pandur (Slo) Unior Tools Team 0:00:17.963  
67 Faustin Figaret (Fra) SC-Intense 0:00:18.022  
68 Arthur Parret (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr 0:00:18.866  
69 Will Jones (GBr) 0:00:19.198  
70 Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Hutchinson United Ride 0:00:19.212  
71 Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate 0:00:21.547  
72 David Trummer° (Aut) 0:00:22.806  
73 Arthur Babcock (USA) 0:00:23.502  
74 Jack Reading (GBr) 0:00:24.607  
75 Lars Vatnebryn Sandviken (Nor) 0:00:24.899  
76 Dan Sheridan° (Irl) 0:00:25.173  
77 Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team 0:00:29.390  
DNF Gavin Vaughan (USA)    
DNS Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing    
DNS Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace    
DNS Dennis Dertell (Swe)    
Teams
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Devinci Global Racing 103  pts
2 MS Mondraker Team 74  
3 GT Factory Racing 72  
4 Santa Cruz Syndicate 55  
5 Lapierre International 36  
6 Passion Velo.Fr 30  
7 Monster Energy-Specialized 24  
8 Scott11 21  
9 Alpine Commencal Austria 20  
10 Hutchinson United Ride 20  
11 Giant Factory Off-Road Team 18  
12 Commencal / Riding Addiction 15  
13 Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing 14  
14 Unior Tools Team 12  
15 Team Morzine - Avoriaz / Haute - Savoie 12  
16 Trek World Racing 12  
17 Madison Saracen Downhill Team 11  
18 Team Norco International 11  
19 Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace 9  
20 SC-Intense 9  
21 Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof 7  
22 Pila-Black Arrows-MTB Herin School Asd 3  
23 CG Racing Brigade 1  
24 Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team 1  
Elite men individual final downhill World Cup standings
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing 1260  pts
2 Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate 1162  
3 Gee Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing 1123  
4 Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing 930  
5 Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized 735  
6 Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate 699  
7 Brook Macdonald (NZl) MS Mondraker Team 650  
8 Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team 650  
9 Michael Hannah (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride 632  
10 George Brannigan (NZl) Devinci Global Racing 604  
11 Cameron Cole (NZl) Lapierre International 579  
12 Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team 561  
13 Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Factory Racing 553  
14 Nick Beer (Swi) Devinci Global Racing 488  
15 Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International 482  
16 Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof 448  
17 Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team 438  
18 Loic Bruni° (Fra) Lapierre International 420  
19 Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof 384  
20 Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Topcycle By Trek 378  
21 Damien Spagnolo (Fra) MS Mondraker Team 378  
22 Luke Strobel (USA) 376  
23 Richard Rude Jr° (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team 362  
24 Justin Leov (NZl) New-Zealand 358  
25 Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction 339  
26 Markus Pekoll (Aut) MS Mondraker Team 330  
27 Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Scott11 320  
28 Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kona 314  
29 Patrick Thome (Fra) Lapierre International 311  
30 Bryn Atkinson (Aus) Team Norco International 307  
31 Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace 299  
32 Lorenzo Suding (Ita) Pila-BlaCK Arrows-Mtb Herin School Asd 297  
33 Mickael Pascal (Fra) France 296  
34 Connor Fearon° (Aus) Kona 296  
35 Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate 280  
36 Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing 278  
37 Sam Dale (GBr) 277  
38 Greg Williamson (GBr) 261  
39 Florent Payet (Fra) SC-Intense 255  
40 Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Col) CG Racing Brigade 247  
41 Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team 246  
42 Bernard Kerr (GBr) 242  
43 Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team 228  
44 Eliot Jackson (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team 223  
45 Ben Reid (Irl) Dirt Norco Race Team 214  
46 Mitch Ropelato* (USA) United States Of America 210  
47 Oscar Harnstrom (Swe) Pila-BlaCK Arrows-Mtb Herin School Asd 205  
48 Lewis Buchanan (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof 201  
49 Harry Molloy (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team 199  
50 Richard Thomas (GBr) 197  
51 Joshua Button (Aus) SC-Intense 196  
52 Neko Mulally (USA) Trek World Racing 192  
53 Matthew Beer (Can) 187  
54 Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr) 177  
55 Julien Camellini (Fra) 167  
56 Oliver Burton (GBr) 166  
57 Kyle Sangers (Can) 166  
58 Harry Heath (GBr) Unior Tools Team 157  
59 Cyrille Kurtz (Fra) CK Racing Santacruz 150  
60 Duncan Riffle (USA) United States Of America 150  
61 Isak Leivsson (Nor) 147  
62 Ziga Pandur (Slo) Unior Tools Team 137  
63 Benny Strasser (Ger) 133  
64 Adam Brayton (GBr) 129  
65 Jack Reading (GBr) 121  
66 Nejc Rutar (Slo) Unior Tools Team 120  
67 Filip Polc (Svk) Slovakia 113  
68 Troy Brosnan* (Aus) Australia 107  
69 Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Hutchinson United Ride 106  
70 Jono Jones° (GBr) Great Britain 104  
71 Fraser Mcglone° (GBr) 99  
72 Phil Atwill° (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team 96  
73 Francisco Pardal* (Por) Portugal 94  
74 Cédric Gracia (Fra) CG Racing Brigade 93  
75 Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spa) Spain 93  
76 Marcus Klausmann (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team 88  
77 Thomas Braithwaite (GBr) 88  
78 Austin Warren° (USA) United States Of America 84  
79 Johann Potgieter (RSA) 83  
80 Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof 83  
81 Ivan Oulego Moreno (Spa) Spain 82  
82 Mark Scott (GBr) 81  
83 Alexander Kangas (Swe) 78  
84 Niklas Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing 64  
85 Boris Tetzlaff* (Aut) Austria 64  
86 Alex Bond (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof 60  
87 Faustin Figaret (Fra) SC-Intense 59  
88 Dan Stanbridge (GBr) Dirt Norco Race Team 57  
89 Joe Connell° (GBr) Great Britain 56  
90 Benjamin Verrier (Fra) 56  
91 Jack° Moir (Aus) Australia 55  
92 Marco Milivinti (Ita) Italy 53  
93 Ludovic May (Swi) 53  
94 Slawomir Lukasik (Pol) 48  
95 Dean Lucas° (Aus) Australia 48  
96 Dan Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing 45  
97 Logan Binggeli (USA) United States Of America 44  
98 George Gannicott° (GBr) 43  
99 Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra) 42  
100 Yoann Barelli (Fra) 42  
101 Nico Vink (Bel) Rose Vaujany Gravity Mtb Team 42  
102 Matej Charvat (Cze) 41  
103 Lars Vatnebryn Sandviken (Nor) 41  
104 Curtis Keene (USA) Specialized Racing - Usa Gravity 38  
105 Gaetan Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction 38  
106 Zakarias Blom Johansen (Nor) 37  
107 Kirk Mcdowall (Can) 35  
108 Guillaume Cauvin° (Fra) France 35  
109 Mathieu Gallean (Fra) Dagg - Racing 35  
110 Mark Wallace° (Can) 34  
111 Miran Vauh (Slo) Slovenia 34  
112 Manuel Gruber (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria 34  
113 Cody Warren (USA) 33  
114 Timothy Bentley (RSA) Hutchinson United Ride 33  
115 Reece Potter° (NZl) 32  
116 Jonty Neethling (RSA) 32  
117 Kevin Aiello (USA) 32  
118 Gianluca Vernassa° (Ita) Devinci Global Racing 30  
119 Ralph Jones (GBr) 30  
120 Rob Fraser (Can) 30  
121 Ludovic Oget (Fra) Dagg - Racing 29  
122 Alexis Pujol (Fra) 29  
123 Joe Barnes (GBr) 29  
124 Dennis Dertell (Swe) Team 23 Degrees 28  
125 Florian Arthus (Fra) Xcytt Racing 28  
126 Emanuel Pombo (Por) Portugal 28  
127 Jakob Thunell° (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing 27  
128 Stefan Garlicki (RSA) 27  
129 Arthur Parret (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr 27  
130 Kieran Bennett (NZl) 26  
131 Quentin Chanudet (Fra) 24  
132 David Trummer° (Aut) 24  
133 Charly Di Pasquale (Fra) Xcytt Racing 23  
134 Lars Peyer (Swi) SC-Intense 22  
135 Richard Leacock (NZl) 22  
136 Remi Gauvin* (Can) Canada 22  
137 Scott Mears (GBr) 22  
138 Rudy Cabirou° (Fra) France 21  
139 Noel Niederberger° (Swi) Scott11 19  
140 Espen Johnsen (Nor) 18  
141 Thomas Jeandin (Swi) 18  
142 Carlo Caire° (Ita) Argentina Bike Gravity Team 17  
143 Mathew Stuttard (GBr) 17  
144 Fergus Lamb (GBr) 16  
145 Jérôme Crocombette (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr 16  
146 Kazuki Shimizu* (Jpn) Japan 14  
147 Ville° Ormo (Fin) Finland 13  
148 Emyr Davies (GBr) 12  
149 Will Jones (GBr) 12  
150 Alexandre Fayolle° (Fra) France 12  
151 Junya Nagata (Jpn) 11  
152 Edgar Carballo Gonzalez (Spa) Spain 11  
153 Tommy Herrmann (Ger) 11  
154 Matthias Stonig (Aut) Austria 10  
155 Romain Payet° (Fra) 10  
156 Benoit Coulanges° (Fra) 9  
157 Lutz Weber* (Swi) Switzerland 8  
158 Arthur Babcock (USA) 8  
159 Joao Gois° (Por) 8  
160 Dan Sheridan° (Irl) 8  
161 Mathias Haas (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria 7  
162 Tiaan Odendaal° (RSA) South Africa 7  
163 Benjamin Torrano (Fra) 7  
164 Yuki Kushima (Jpn) 4  
165 Hans Lambert (Can) 3  
166 Kristoffer Haugland (Nor) 2  
Team final World Cup standings
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 GT Factory Racing 535  pts
2 MS Mondraker Team 420  
3 Santa Cruz Syndicate 402  
4 Devinci Global Racing 379  
5 Lapierre International 316  
6 Trek World Racing 301  
7 Hutchinson United Ride 275  
8 Scott11 259  
9 Giant Factory Off-Road Team 249  
10 Commencal / Riding Addiction 216  
11 Monster Energy-Specialized 203  
12 Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof 134  
13 Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team 133  
14 Passion Velo.Fr 104  
15 Alpine Commencal Austria 98  
16 SC-Intense 95  
17 Madison Saracen Downhill Team 94  
18 Team Norco International 93  
19 Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team 68  
20 Team Morzine - Avoriaz / Haute - Savoie 47  
21 Kona 45  
22 CG Racing Brigade 38  
23 Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace 37  
24 Topcycle By Trek 32  
25 Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing 23  
26 Unior Tools Team 23  
27 Pila-Black Arrows-Mtb Herin School Asd 23  
28 CK Racing Santacruz 17  
29 Torpado Surfing Shop 10  
30 Dagg - Racing 9  
31 Dirt Norco Race Team 4  
32 Ghost Factory Racing Team 3